Nothing can be more delightful than sinking your teeth into a sweet-smelling delicious musk-melon on a hot afternoon. If you haven’t tried them yet then do stop by Appala Naidu’s cart, says Jaya Siva Murty.
WHERE TO FIND: Opposite HPCL Petrol bunk, Siripuram
OWNS: Karbonn A1 plus cellphone
K. Appala Naidu is definitely a good salesman. Having haggled high and low, his customer walks away with a smile and few musk-melons. But Appala Naidu is pleased too, he has made a profit. ‘I manage to sell fruits worth Rs. 2000/- every day. Because this is the musk-melon season, sales are usually good.’ The four month period starting from January to April brings in good produce. The fruits are sweet and refreshing. And Appala Naidu tells us that he is one of the few people in the city who stocks it during the season.
But how does this entrepreneur’s business model work? ‘I got into this business few years ago. I bring the fruits from the ANR sellers. They are very nice to me and they recommend what to stock and I follow their advice. Then I station my cart here from 9 :00 AM till late evening and re-stock once the stock is over.’ The fruit has a shelf life of 3 days, so usually he stocks it for that long. ‘I don’t refrigerate it as that leads to the fruit losing its sweetness’ he says.
Like any other businessman, he is his own boss. ‘I work when I want to and take off when I don’t want to. But work means money, so I’m usually here on all days of the week.’ He also tells us that sales are better in the afternoon and in the evening when people are heading back home from work.
Born and brought up in his native village near Parvathipuram, he came to Vizag looking for greener pastures and to overcome financial difficulties. While his parents still live in the village, his two sisters live in Vizag. ‘I studied till tenth grade. I started in this line of work five years ago because I needed money, and it brings in decent profits.’ And what does he do when the season is over? ‘Something special comes in every season and my sellers suggest what would go well. So after the musk-melon season, I’d be stocking blackberries, gooseberries and other fruits.
He likes his line of work, but hopes that one day he’d be able to go back to his village. ‘I feel my life will be more comfortable in my hometown. I feel villages offer a better life, and they’re cleaner too. I can earn this money by tilling my piece of land in the village and cultivating plants that will have a good market. I may earn less comparatively, but I will be spending less too.’
He also hopes that when Vizag becomes a smart city, vendors like him will have ease in selling. ‘Maybe we’ll all be given a particular area, like the fruit market in Mumbai. I really look forth to that happening.’ An organized smart Vizag is what Appala Naidu is hoping for and we wish him the best.